How Docker Flipped the Software Training Classroom at Dockercon

Posted by Bill Cushard on July 02, 2015

by Bill Cushard (@billcush)

If you have heard of Khan Academy, Coursera, or any of the other self-learning sites or massive open online courses (MOOCs), you have likely heard of the concept of the "flipped classroom". The flipped classroom is a widely debated topic in academic and corporate learning circles. A flipped classroom is a learning method that includes students watching lectures or otherwise learning concepts on their own, then attending a class during which most of the time is spent applying what was learned in self-paced study. The idea is to spend more time in class on high value activities such as exercises and "real" work, as opposed to watching lectures.

There are 3 principles of a flipped classroom:

  1. Teachers record and post video lectures in lieu of lecturing in class.
  2. Students view video lectures at home (or otherwise on their own).
  3. Students spend time in class actively working as opposed to passively sitting through lectures.

The question is, "What does this have to do with enterprise software training?" Quite a bit, actually. In fact, software training is an ideal use case for a flipped classroom model since practical hands-on labs are such a critical part of successful software training. Enterprise software companies have a huge opportunity to improve the effectiveness of training using a flipped classroom model.

That is exactly what Docker did at it's annual conference, Dockercon on June 22, 2015.

Docker flipped the software training classroom

Docker created a series of video lessons that people can view on its website. The videos are free to anyone who wants to learn Docker. Then, Docker offered nine, one-hour tutorials at Dockercon spread throughout the two days on various use cases. These conference tutorials gave conference attendees a chance to learn specific Docker functionality, in short, hands-on practical sessions. 80% of the time in the tutorial was spent working on Docker with practical exercises.

Messaging to conference attendees urged people to watch the videos on the web site before attending the hands-on tutorials.

A flipped classroom in reverse

Even if participants had not watched the videos before attending the tutorials, they received hands-on help during the tutorials from two instructors. Students could get their hands dirty in Docker and then go watch the videos after the conference. So taking the hands-on tutorials first (with little or no experience with Docker), then watching the videos afterwards works great too.

Science agrees.

A recent Stanford study suggests that doing a hands-on activity before watched a lecture improves learning.

Improving the effectiveness of how people learn Docker is critical, and Docker is doing it right.

It needs to. Especially now.

Staggering Docker growth requires staggering learning

Docker's growth is staggering. According to a recent VentureBeat article, Docker, since June 2014 saw the number of:

  • Open-source contributors to Docker increased from 460 to 1,300, a 183 percent surge.
  • Docker projects on GitHub increase from 6,500 to 40,000, up 515 percent.
  • Docker-related job listings increase from 2,500 to a mind-blowing 43,000, an increase of 1,720 percent.

Like I said.


Software training as critical to fueling Docker's growth engine

The most compelling figure to me is the number of job-listings. If there were only 2,500 job listings in June 2014, and presumably many of those jobs were unfilled because companies have still not been able to find the right people with Docker skills. Now there are 43,000 listing requiring Docker skills, which means there is a need for tens of thousands of new people that need to learn Docker.

If Docker is going to make it to the big time in 2015, many, many people are going to need to learn Docker. And learn Docker fast. I submit that in order for Docker to hit the big time in 2015 (or 2016 for that matter) is that people need to learn Docker and learn it quickly.

Docker sees this coming and understands that training is baked into the future of its success and continued growth. Accordingly, Docker, is making a huge push to get people to learn the technology through various methods: self-paced videos, hands-on tutorials at Dockercon, and through a network of partners who are certified to deliver live Docker training courses.Learn More about Software Training

Call for Comments

  1. Are you planning to learn Docker? How? When?
  2. What was the last skill you learned (technology or otherwise)? Why did you learn it?
  3. How has a flipped classroom impacted you?

Topics: Tech, Support, Learning, Training

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